Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Black Women/White Women Battle Continues - The Secret That Catherine Donnelly Should Have Kept To Herself

On last week's podcast, Dr. Weems challenged black women to think about their frustrations with white women and how we need to re-think our positions on those relationships. She has followed up on her wonderful blog Something Within with a special guest posting on the topic.

I agree with Dr. Weems that the poor relations between black and white women need to examined, discussed, and possibly redeemed, but I am not hopeful on the subject. I am just not a believer. I have spent so many years now, just dealing with white women on an individual basis and still being repeatedly disappointed at their failures to "get it" on the most basic level.

I do understand the pressures and problems that white women face and I don't think black women corner the market on oppression and frustration. I am well aware that after "feeling burned" black women are more likely to retreat from white women than to keep trying to connect.

Yet with that said, I find myself asking, do white women EVER consider black women before they do something involving us? Consider the case of Catherine Donnelly.

Did Ms. Donnelly consider Michelle Obama's feelings first before sharing with the mainstream media her limited interaction with Michelle Obama at Princeton?

Considering that Michelle Obama had gone 20 plus years without ever knowing that Ms. Donnelly came from a racist family and that Ms. Donnelly's mother strongly objected to her having a black woman as a college roommate, what in the hell made Ms. Donnelly think Michelle Obama wanted to read or hear about this ancient racist history?

If they were not friends during their college days and had not reconnected in the numerous years in between, why did Ms. Donnelly feel compelled to comment on Michelle Obama at all? What was gained from her exposing this story?

And why do white women think it's an excuse for ignorance with remarks like "I told them we weren't used to living with black people." In 20 plus years, it hasn't dawned on Ms. Donnelly and her mother, that Michelle Obama coming from the South side of Chicago, wasn't used to living with white people? Yet, it wasn't Michelle Obama's mama in the Princeton University's office demanding a new room or threatening to yank her daughter from the school.

And the final insult in this case is the fact that Michelle Obama had to be gracious and conciliatory in the face of this decades old slap in the face. I wish Ms. Donnelly and her mama had returned the favor and just told the reporter, no comment.

5 comments:

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com June 18, 2008 at 1:41 AM  

Hello there,

I remember that story about Michelle Obama's roommate and I don't think that Michelle felt ANYTHING about it...why should she...why is it that black women need to respond when some white person reveals how ignorant they are? Does anything just warrant a shrug? Or do we have to blow up at everything? I am glad Michelle Obama was not hardly crushed by this white woman's article. The lady wanted her 15 minutes of fame and THAT was her reason for mentioning her encounter with Michelle.

Now, that woman is no longer news...and should never have been.

As for the chasm between white women and black women...there is blame to go around both ways.

I have said on my blog that we really have to stop this outlandish expectation that white women must understand the "plight" of black women in order to be allies of black women. They don't. We also have to stop lumping all white women together and then turning around and screaming and hollering when WE ARE lumped together. If we want to be dealt with as individuals...we must deal with white women as individuals too.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

faith June 18, 2008 at 6:34 AM  

Well it's because she wants attention of course! She didn't want to get caught out there looking like a sheet waving Klan member so she has to revise her history. Also she's a lesbian so she's supposed to be considered an oppressed person too.

focusedpurpose June 18, 2008 at 1:55 PM  

you know, call me crazy; i for one am more interested in getting black women to get along and work with one another respectfully in greater numbers.

i don't have left over energy to devote to white women. seriously. i think likewise, they are so focused on themselves that they couldn't care less how their behavior affects others.

i don't think white women don't "get it". i think they just don't care unless it somehow progresses their agenda. there has been enough evidence throughout history to support this assertion. in the interim, as long as i am treated with respect and humanely it is all good. it is the best, i think anyone can command when dealing with white folks. the non-stop white supremacy doctrine we are all fed pretty much kills the ability for most white folks to behave fairly when dealing with non white folks. i have accepted this and decided to move on.

this donnelly woman is a bonehead becky. obviously. she does not warrant my energy much less Mrs. O's.

blessings,
focusedpurpose

wisdomteachesme June 19, 2008 at 7:07 PM  

faith said = "Also she's a lesbian so she's supposed to be considered an oppressed person too."
-----------------

lololololol
ok, but you know what that means--that she does not like women of color lesbians either. Lesbians, Regardless of color are a group that she is saying she is a part of....I know all about this small inner group--they puzzle me...shouting hatred against women of color lesbians while also crying victim of the same hatred ??~!!!
So she is a double racist and an Enormous
hype-pocrite!
walking contridictions.

let her wallow in her self made life....
Some women-people of all colors are willing to be helped but sadly that # is small as many are not willing.

Everybody is not Teachable.
everyone can't go with you!

jazine June 20, 2008 at 7:01 PM  

I heard the podcast Professor Tracey is talking about. I don't know why this seems to be an issue, the issue being black women HAVE to bridge the gap with white women. Why are black women expending so much energy to other black women, yet not to white women, to heal this chasm? I don't understand why black women are always the one who have to be "fair."

I have white women friends and colleagues and I'm not preoccupied with them. I judge them as an individual like anyone else. White women are not hurting by not relating to black women or taking their feelings seriously into consideration. Sorry, but they're not thinking about us, so why are we being encouraged to think about them? We don't have to live with a unhealthy dislike towards white women, that's too much mental energy, but I also think this extending the olive branch is not very healthy either.

Black women have been used historically by white women and black men for their own selfish gains. Can black women just stand up for themselves without apology? Whoever wants to be our allies no matter the race or gender would be welcomed, but enough with the bridging the gap between white women and black women dialogue. I've been hearing it forever, and it's tired.

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